Resurfaced video footage shows Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo suggesting that a female reporter “eat the whole sausage” at the 2016 New York State Fair.
Cuomo, who faces allegations of sexual harassment from two different former employees, sent a sausage to News 12 Westchester reporter Beth Cefalu and can be heard telling the young woman, “I want to see you eat the whole sausage.”
“I don’t know if I should eat the whole sausage in front of you, but I’m definitely going to eat it,” Cefalu responded. At the time, she was a NewsChannel 9 reporter, according to the New York Post.
The governor invited her to sit down at his table with him and introduced her to his daughter, who is sitting quietly next to him. Cefalu then takes a selfie of herself, the governor, and the sausage.
just thinking back to that time NY Governor Andrew Cuomo hounded a local news reporter to “eat the whole sausage” pic.twitter.com/EyNxFavOyG
— Matt Binder (@MattBinder) February 28, 2021
“There’s too much sausage in that picture,” Cuomo said. The other diners laughed at the comment.
The governor did not immediately respond to a request for comment from the Daily Caller News Foundation regarding the video.
Cefalu said Monday that the viral video is being misrepresented as harassment.
“I was not pressured/harassed,” Cefalu tweeted. [This] is two people enjoying the one event – the NYS fair – that gives them a little more freedom to be informal,” she tweeted. “It’s really sad it’s being turned into anything more.”
I was not pressured/harassed
this is two people enjoying the one event – the NYS fair – that gives them a little more freedom to be informal. Its really sad it’s being turned into anything more. https://t.co/sISlRUR8ER
— Beth Cefalu (@BethanyCefalu) March 1, 2021
“This is why people hate ‘the media’ misleading headlines and one-sided articles twisting reality,” she added. “It’s really sad that any media will turn fun at the fair into some sleazy scandal that it wasn’t.”
Cuomo spoke out Sunday evening after two different former employees, Lindsey Boylan and Charlotte Bennett, accused him of sexual harassment in the workplace.
“Questions have been raised about some of my past interactions with people in the office,” the governor said in a statement. “I never intended to offend anyone or cause any harm. I spend most of my life at work and colleagues are often also personal friends.”
Cuomo said that sometimes at work he thinks he is “being playful” and making “jokes that I think are funny.”
“I do, on occasion, tease people in what I think is a good natured way,” he said. “I do it in public and in private. You have seen me do it at briefings hundreds of times. I have teased people about their personal lives, their relationships, about getting married or not getting married. I mean no offense and only attempt to add some levity and banter to what is a very serious business.”
The governor said that he understands now that some of his interactions “may have been insensitive or too personal” and that given his position, some of his comments may have made others uncomfortable.
“I acknowledge some of the things I have said have been misinterpreted as an unwanted flirtation,” Cuomo said. “To the extent anyone felt that way, I am truly sorry about that.”
“To be clear I never inappropriately touched anybody and I never propositioned anybody and I never intended to make anyone feel uncomfortable, but these are allegations that New Yorkers deserve answers to,” the governor said, noting that this is why he has asked for an independent review into the allegations.
The New York governor had announced Saturday that former federal judge Barbara S. Jones would investigate the harassment allegations, though Jones had worked with longtime Cuomo adviser Steven M. Cohen after she left her position as judge, according to the New York Times.